He’s Got It … Keep Your Hands Off!!

Trust And ObeyI love reading through the history of God’s people throughout the Bible.  Witnessing from the hands of those God ordained to pen it what our fleshly weakness looks like; what human faith can accomplish; and the enormous grace that God extends to us.  I think my favorite thing to read is what Our Father has been willing to do for us!

The truth is that there is no issue that can arise in our lives that God is not aware of and from which He cannot bring victory … when we are COMPLETELY COMMITTED to
Him!

Nothing is impossible when our trust is in Him!! But when we rely upon ourselves – our knowledge; our own strength; our connections; when we use effort and plotting on our own inventiveness – ANYTHING: we can be assured that we will bring disaster and ruin into our circumstance!

Just look at King Asa.  After committing himself to God’s ways he experienced peace and prosperity; but once all was well, he decided he had it under control and in took “the silver and gold out of the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and of his own palace” and sent it to a heathen leader to make a treaty that was not even necessary, because He was living under the beauty of a covenant with God Almighty!  God’s response through the man of God, “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand.  For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”  (The story can be found in 2 Chronicles 16)

My brothers and sisters, read your word and learn from the downfalls of others.  Trust In Him Completely!  Trust and don’t waver. Trust His strength. Trust His word. Trust His promises. He cannot fail!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ 

Let Us Worship Our One True God

True WorshipReading through the Old Testament the last couple of weeks I find myself feeling a little sorry for the leaders of the Israelites; Aaron and Jeroboam especially.  Both of them had their own weaknesses, but in both time periods, the people they were leading wanted a convenient and easy worship ambiance put in place for them. The people wanted familiar cultural acts and actions. They wanted actions that would be repeated so they wouldn’t have to think about what they were doing. They wanted things that they could see physically – images that compete with God’s image. In both cases the leaders ensured that they got what they wanted.

Believers today get in that same type of boat: 1)  Trying to put idols in the place of our God.  Some of our idols are : false rationale, materialism, and consumerism; 2) Wanting pastors to provide a way for us to wallow in some things without feeling guilt. Things like: personal achievement, self, and religion.

Well, just like then, so now!

Leaders in the Body of Christ today do not have an obligation to make worship more convenient for Christ followers. NO! They have an obligation to make worship of our God an unavoidable and inescapable part of our daily experience. Yes, DAILY! Not just on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.

God Deserves Our Worship. That’s the Bottom Line. There is nothing more that He needs to do for us. He deserves our worship now – today! He deserves it And He deserves it no matter how He wants to receive it!

What has He asked you to do to honor Him? What does your worship look like?

After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 1 Kings 12:28

He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” Exodus 32:4

Trust Him with ALL

proverbs-3-5-and-6On January 17, 2017 –  I was involved in a serious car accident with my sweetheart.  I was driving and went unconscious while behind the wheel for several minutes.  The car was going down the highway at about 70MPH.  Lloyd had to maintain his composure while: 1)  hoping that his unconscious wife was alive ; 2) having thoughts of what his life (and his children’s lives) might be like if she was not alive; 3) realizing that he would have to save our lives; and 4) realizing that no matter what he did, only God could save us.

The King of Kings was with us that night for sure because Lloyd says the muscle in my right leg relaxed which let the car start to slow down while he grabbed the wheel.  We crashed into a traffic sign instead of into oncoming traffic.  Eric, an off duty Colorado police officer, was behind us and stopped to help Lloyd to navigate the madness – which was also wonderful because the calls to 911 kept saying “call failed”.  God kept Lloyd and I here and I just cannot thank Him enough!

The reactions of our friends/family were varied:”God has something planned for you!”; “It wasn’t time for you to go!”; “God extended His grace to you!”; “God granted His grace to us!”; “God looked out for us!”; “Thank God!”; “Get to the doctor!”; “REST!”; “Don’t ever travel again!”; Or in some cases – just tears or looks that needed no words.

My heart and Lloyd’s heart have been running through a gamut of emotions.  We are grateful!  We’ve been concerned! We have had some fear that has passed.  But the most amazing thing is that we have felt great passion for our callings toward the gospel being spread across the earth.  We have felt a burning urgency to carry out some of the things that God has placed in our hearts in recent days.  We have found ourselves worshipping everywhere we go because that has been one of the most effective tools against the fear and concern.  Gratefulness. Concern. Fear. Passion. Urgency. Worship! Yes – worship has been one of the most effective tools against the negative thoughts or feelings – I can see what Paul and Silas felt at midnight!  We lived to see another new mercy. This mercy – we truly can say we’ve never witnessed before!  Nothing in us has us wanting to stop doing what God has called us to do.  This latest experience has only made us both want to dive deeper into it and get it done with more passion; more excellence; and as soon as we can do it.

What about you?  As you live your life for the King of Kings are you acting as if your eternal life will be lived right where you are?!  I want to encourage you to live it like every moment just might be your last where you are.  None of us know when our last moment is –  I’m not saying that you might die; but I am saying that you might be moved!!  You just don’t know!  If the Lord tells you to share the gospel with someone – Open Your Mouth Today!  If the Lord tells you to write a book – Put The Pen To The Page Today!  If the Lord tells you to get under someone’s discipleship – Make The Move Today! If the Lord tells you to get a doctorate degree – Start The Program Today!  If God makes a way for you to show some hospitality – do it Today!  Don’t Procrastinate!  Don’t Hesitate!  Don’t try to fit God’s plan into your schedule.

If you’ve made the decision to call Him the Lord of your life – just go ahead and trust in Him completely and move your own understanding of things out of the way.  Relinquish your own idea about what might be right about how to carry things out over to Him and believe that He really will work it out in the way that is best for you!

As for Lloyd and I,  YES – God has asked us to do some pretty radical things in the last couple of years and we’ve done most with very little hesitation; but we’ve piddled around on some that aren’t so comfortable or easy.  This latest experience has just told us to go on and Do It!  He’s Ordering our Steps.  He’s Making the Path Plain.  He’s Got Us!  In Fact — He Has Got It All!!  Nothing that He’s asking of us is too hard for us because all of our strength is in Him and all of our purpose rests in Him and our life is hidden in His Son!

In fact, the only reason we even ARE is Him!

Proverbs 3:5,6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

 

Setting the enemy straight

Keep Calm RebukeResist the Devil and he will flee.  This excerpt from James 4 seems to say that our words have power.   I never really thought about it much, but in recent days with all of the clearly godless things that are happening all around us; I began to ponder why we, the Church – the Body of Christ, seems impotent to deal with evil.  Not that we ARE impotent, NO! we are not – but we do seem to be.

Resist the Devil and he will flee is not a call for us to tell the Devil to sit down and shut up in our own authority, yet I fear this is exactly what we tend to do.  Our King – Jesus, who is the Christ – has all authority, and we walk in that authority.  We must be careful not to fool ourselves into the false truth that it is we who have the authority.  The authority; the one who sets the standards; the one who establishes the rules; the one who wields real power – is God.  Power and Authority are His!

As we attempt to stand against our enemy Satan – we must remember always that we must ask the Lord Himself to come against the enemy; we must ask God Himself to stand in against the enemy.  We must ask the Lord Himself to work within us the resistance that will make the enemy flee.  Much like the disciples who could not cast out the demons on their on – we will stand powerless if we try to do it on our own!

When we experience the enemies attacks in our own lives or when we see his movement in the world around us it is our role to speak to the evil one in the name of our Almighty and Faithful God saying ‘Satan, stand down for our Lord will thwart your evil plans’.  It is ours to remind the enemy of who is in charge: ‘Satan, you have no authority here for the Lord Himself will judge you’.  However, be aware that in order to speak to the enemy in God’s power – we have to be connected to Him.  We have to know Him, know His word, and be yielded to His will.  Reflect on your own life — are you connected to the power source?  If not, you can be assured that there is no way you can stand against the enemy.

May each one of us live for Him daily – continually yielding to God’s will in our lives.  May He grant us the wisdom to call upon Him.  May the witness of our lives illuminate the earth with the truth of the Gospel and dim the light of the enemy.  May we always rely on His strength that never fails.  If Michael, the most powerful of the angels, knew that he should not take the enemy to task in his own name or in his own power – surely we understand that we too must be careful to recognize where the power lies.

But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 1:9

Expect Nothing – Appreciate Everything!

Expect Nothing Appreciate EverythingWhen Lloyd and I were doing marriage ministry early in our ministry life, I used to tell the wives that I did not trust in my husband, but in God.  For some, that caused alarm — they could not understand what I meant.  I don’t mean that I expect my husband to behave badly – what I mean is that I understand that my husband cannot ever meet every need in my life.  Because he is flesh, as am I, he will undoubtedly fail me and I will undoubtedly fail him!

Understand this — I am married to arguably the best man on the planet!  He is kind to me; he is loving towards me; he is patient with me; he cares for me tenderly; he is careful to protect me; he’s a good friend to me; he is my very best friend; he makes me laugh; he rejoices in my joys; he feels my sorrows —  he is not, however, perfect; but I truly do believe that for me – he’s the perfect guy. When we started this journey together as man and wife we made deliberate choices to give the marriage back to God.  We learned early in our marriage that it was best to expect nothing at all from one another but rather to depend upon God in all things.  This attitude, I believe, has made us both find enormous pleasure in the ways that we bless each other.  That may not be clear so let me break that down for you.  Men and women generally have roles in a marriage — he takes care of the car; she ensures that healthy food is in the house; he will be the provider; she will be the counselor; etc.  While Lloyd and I surely understood these role expectations — neither of us held the other to these roles.  We never assumed that the other would be perfectly suited for any particular role.  He agreed to love me like Christ loved the church and I agreed to respect Him and build Him up as head of my home; and we agreed that the rest would work itself out.  Here’s what happened over these 22 years and 4 months:  when I cook for Lloyd, he is genuinely grateful for it because he knows I could choose not to.  When Lloyd gets the car serviced and fills it with gas, I am genuinely grateful because I know he could choose not to.  Now — neither of us has ever made the choice not to serve the other – but because our hope lies in God and not each other, each act of love is truly a blessing that is gratefully received and graciously given!

Because this has worked in our marriage – we have translated it to our relationship with our God.  Instead of expecting him to meet our expectations – we simply depend upon Him to do what He does as God and Father.  Instead of walking in an attitude of entitlement to His blessings; we choose to walk in an attitude of humility before Him; laying our requests about before Him and leaving them there.  We moved from saying “Good job, God!” to saying “Wow! Thank you Father for caring for me in such an extravagant way!”

Many believers have relegated God to the role of “Genie”.  We say “God is a Healer” and say it as if our words demand that He heal; instead of saying “God is a Healer” and leaving that illness at His feet expecting only that His will be done and poising ourselves to be surprised by the extravagance of His great love. We do the same with every attribute of God – Provider, Peace Giver, Keeper, etc.  What if we made the decision to expect that we can depend upon Him and decide even while waiting that whatever the outcome we will respond with profound gratefulness.  He has told us that we will have trials and should count them as joy — how can we do that sincerely if we are always expecting Him to fix them to our liking instead of expecting Him to work them out for our good and His glory?!  I’m not saying it is easy — but I do believe that He will empower us to respond in a right way.  He is Sovereign!  He is Just!  All of His ways are Good and Holy!  Won’t you trust Him with your life today?!  Expect Nothing – just Depend Upon God!

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also.  The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land.  Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.  Today, if you would hear His voice, (Psalm 95:1-7)

Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. (Psalm 146:3)